The phablet cannibalization trend is so significant that IDC lowered its long-term tablet forecast. The research firm slightly lowered its previous 2013 forecast from 227.4 million tablet shipments worldwide to 221.3 million.
IDC lowered its 2017 tablet forecast even further, pegging shipments at 386.3 million, down from the previous 407 million units.
In some markets, especially the Asia Pacific region, consumers have already decided to buy a large smartphone rather than a small tablet, IDC analysts said. Tablet purchases in South Korea have declined while larger smartphone purchases have increased. IDC researchers there are forecasting that 2013 tablet shipments will drop below 2012′s figures.
“Korea is a unique case, but it could very well be the precursor to that happening in more countries and regions,” said Tom Mainelli, an IDC analyst.
“People in some countries have limited money to spend, so they tend to go for a large phone because they can call and browse on it and read email, as opposed to getting a small phone and a tablet,” added IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani. The phablet becomes the “jack of all trades.”
The cannibalization of tablets is less of a concern in the U.S. and Canada where expendable income is more available. In North America, analysts are more worried about market saturation, with tablets bought up in huge numbers going back to 2010. The market is set to turn from high growth to “mostly a replacement market,” Mainelli said.
IDC also found that tablets in emerging countries aren’t as popular as phablets because there is less Wi-Fi at home and less traditional home PC usage. “We think many of those cheap whitebox tablets being used in emerging markets are essentially replacing DVD players, with the content side-loaded onto them from various sources,” Mainelli said. “Also, larger smartphones took off there first.”
In addition to large smartphones’ cutting into tablet sales, Mainelli said IDC believes that wearable devices and other new computing categories will temper tablet growth in coming years. He didn’t estimate by how much, however.
As large phone use rises, Mainelli said it’s possible that the tablet market will shift back to larger tablets in a reversal of the recent trend toward sub-8-in. tablets. “I tend to think that is what will happen in the U.S.,” he said. One example is the new iPad Air, with a 9.7-in. display.
IDC predicts about 220 million tablets with screens that are under 8 inches will ship globally in 2017, with another 145 million tablets shipping that are between 8 inches and 11 inches, and about 20 million with screen sizes of more than 11 inches.
Analyst firm Canalys said in November that phablets larger than 5 inches accounted for 22% of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter.
The phablets, made mainly by Samsung and running the Android operating system, include the 6.3-in. Galaxy Mega and the 5.7-in Galaxy Note 3. Apple’s new iPhone 4S and 4C are still 4-in. devices, but the company launched a smaller tablet, the iPad mini, with a 7.9-in. screen in November 2012.
Canalys recently predicted that tablet shipments will reach 285 million units in 2014, about 15 million higher than IDC’s forecast for 2014 of 270.5 million.
Also in 2014, Canalys said tablets will almost outship all PCs combined, a category including desktops and laptops.
The dismal numbers will not be welcomed at Microsoft, which sells the bulk of its Windows licenses to computer makers as they assemble new PCs.
According to IDC’s revised estimate, 2013 PC shipments will total 314 million, a 10.1% decline from last year’s 349 million.
The new forecast was the third reduction in 2013 expectations by IDC, which started the year thinking that the decline would be just 1.3%. With each revision, the research firm’s projections became gloomier, first in May when it predicted a 7.8% contraction, then again in August when its analysts said the decline would intensify to 9.7%.
If IDC’s latest prognostication is accurate, Asian factories will ship about the same number of PCs to distributors, retailers or OEMs as they did in 2009, two years before ”peak PC,” when PC shipments reached nearly 364 million before starting a 24-month-and-counting slump.
The downturn will continue through 2014, IDC maintained Monday, when PC shipments will fall another 3.8% to around 302 million — like the 10.1% drop this year, a larger decline than the August estimate — before recovering ever so slightly over the next several years. But for the foreseeable future — at least through 2017 — shipments will hover just north of 300 million, or about the number delivered in 2008.
“Beyond 2017, at this time we don’t have reason to think the market would take off in double-digit year-over-year growth,” said Jay Chou, one of the IDC analysts who works on the PC tracking team, in an email reply to questions.
The last time PC shipments climbed by double digits was in 2010, when year-over-year growth was a robust 13.7%.
Other than computer component suppliers and PC makers, Microsoft will be the company hit the hardest: Sales of its Windows operating system are almost entirely reliant on new PC sales. Last quarter, for example, Microsoft said that OEM-based Windows revenue declined 7% overall, nearly the same as the drop in PC shipments for the quarter measured by IDC.
Spotify has responded to criticism of the royalty amounts it pays to music artists.
Music industry figures including Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke have long called for fellow artists to boycott the Swedish music streaming service, which Yorke described as “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”.
In launching the new Spotify For Artists website, Spotify has been proud to boast that it has paid out more than $1bn, over half of which it has paid in the past year. However, digging deeper the truth emerges that this equates to between $0.006 and $0.008 per play.
That’s fine if you’re Lady Gaga or Beyonce, but for musicians at the grassroots level this represents a massive hole in their finances. Or to put it in perspective, it would require a five piece band to be played 5,477 times just to be able to buy themselves a round of drinks. For a new, untested and undiscovered artist, that simply isn’t enough to get by.
A play on Great Britain’s BBC alternative radio station 6 Music nets an artist approximately five cents. Not a king’s ransom, but a huge amount compared to Spotify’s rates. In contrast, Bandcamp, the service designed to allow artists to self release their music, lets artists set their own prices for music, or even leaves it up to consumers to pay what they believe the work is worth.
This is the way that the internet is supposed to empower artists. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be a star, or at least make a living from their music, if they are good enough.
But accepting the payment of these tiny amounts of money is actually far worse for the industry than so-called ‘piracy’, because copyright infringement will always be considered wrong, while streaming for fractions of pennies normalises the practice of underpaying for creative talent and creates the kinds of gatekeepers that have made the giant music industry companies such a cartel. A cartel that is starting to implode.
HP plans to axe more than 1,100 jobs at three of its UK sites in 2014, the Unite union announced on Wednesday.
The 1,124 job cuts will take place across three of HP’s UK workplaces, in Bracknell, Sheffield and Warrington. A total of 618 jobs could be lost at the Bracknell hub, 483 will go at Warrington, and 23 at Sheffield.
However, Unite said that many of these job cuts will affect HP employees who work from home, although we’re not sure that makes the situtation better.
Unite national officer Ian Tonks said, “For the last five years HP has been addicted to a culture of job cuts in the UK to such an extent that its highly skilled workforce has little faith in the way the company is being managed and will be going forward.
“Unite will be doing everything possible to mitigate these job losses which are a hammer blow to the UK’s IT sector and very distressing for employees in the run-up to Christmas.”
The reason for the job cuts is still not entirely clear. HP cited “reorganisation” and “falling demand”, despite being one of the only PC makers in the third quarter to show sales growth, while rivals Acer and Asus posted massive declines in PC shipments.
Tonks continued to condemn the job cuts, adding, “At the recent re-negotiation of the European works council (EWC), senior European managers were unable to answer any questions about the future EWC, as they could not get hold of their American bosses because of last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. It’s no wonder there is so little faith in the European management.”
HP has yet to announce when the job cuts will commence, but reports claim they will begin in early 2014.
A HP spokesperson said in a statement, “HP commenced consultation for Q1 FY14 on November 28th, 2013 in the UK regarding potential workforce changes for 2014.
“The proposed UK workforce management plan is part of HP’s global multi-year productivity initiative that was announced on May 23, 2012, and updated at its Securities Analysts Meeting on October 9, 2013, to address current market and business pressures in support of HP’s turnaround in EMEA.
“HP remains committed to supporting the employability of its employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re-skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment as appropriate.”
A Harvard scientist has come up with a way to 3D print rechargeable batteries. Jennifer Lewis has created some new inks and create special nozzles and extruders for 3D printing batteries and other simple electronic components.
These functional inks contain nanoparticles of different compounds such as lithium for batteries and silver for wires. They get printed at room temperature as a liquid, but become a solid after printing. It also means that electronics and batteries can be manufactured together and in configurations that have not been possible before.
Lewis printed a battery that is just 1mm square with an accuracy of 100nm and the reliability of a commercial battery. Functional inks, nozzles and extruders was first introduced back in June and is still at the early stages. However, Lewis has reached a point now where patents exist covering how they function, and the tech is starting to be licensed.
She wants to get them into the hands of manufacturers, but also doesn’t see a reason why a 3D printer couldn’t be offered for home users.
Apple confirmed the acquisition but would not say why it purchased the company, which specializes in analyzing Twitter data and providing insights into current sentiment on a variety of topics.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier, cited people familiar with the deal as saying Apple forked over more than $200 million.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.
Topsy did not respond to requests for comment.
The iPad and iPhone maker often does what it calls “bolt-on” acquisitions, small deals to acquire technology that then gets integrated into existing or future products.
Apple’s main effort in social media has revolved around Ping, a music-centered social sharing network that was at one point integrated into its iTunes app. The service, which lets users post music tracks they liked to a newsfeed, didn’t catch on and was shut down.
But the California gadget maker has been increasingly making it easier for people to share photos, videos and news through its devices and directly to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
It also operates iTunes Radio, an online streaming music service that competes with Pandora and could benefit from Topsy’s data on consumer sentiment.
Earlier this year Intel caused quite a stir when CEO Brian Krzanich announced the company’s ultimate goal is to make $99 tablets a reality. So far Intel has failed to gain much market share in the tablet space, dominated by cheaper ARM application processors and Android.
However, Bay Trail-T has a good chance to turn things around. The new chip can easily take on high-end ARM parts and in most cases, wipe the floor with them. Since it’s an x86 part, it can also be used in Windows 8.1 tablets. However, the price was a problem. Intel’s official Bay Trail-T prices range from $32 to $37, making the chips significantly more expensive than mid-range and low-end ARM parts. However, many vendors are said to be getting discounts and paying a bit less, in the $20 to $30 range.
Things may be about to change. According to Digitimes, Intel is planning to spend up to $1 billion on tablet chip subsides. The cash should sweeten the deal for vendors willing to give Intel SoCs a go. Since we are talking about relatively low average selling prices, Intel could use the cash to practically halve the prices and offer Bay Trail-T parts for as little as $10. This would make them competitive overnight, as high-end ARM SoCs like the Exynos 5 and Tegra 4 are estimated to cost well over $20.
Intel has a long tradition of overspending on marketing. A few years ago it showed Ultrabook vendors with $300 million worth of market development funding and it has a huge Core marketing program. Intel recently announced that it would start treating Atom and Core equally, hence the move would make sense. Since Core lifecycles are getting longer, Intel could simply shift some of the funding to Atom products, namely tablet parts like Bay Trail-T.
The only problem? Well the report comes from Digitimes and the site’s hit and miss track record has been on the “miss” side lately, so take it with a grain of salt.
The issue was discovered by Bogdan Alecu, a system administrator at Dutch IT services company Levi9, and affects all Android 4.x firmware versions on Google Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. Alecu demonstrated the vulnerability at the DefCamp security conference in Bucharest, Romania.
Class 0 SMS, or Flash SMS, is a type of message defined in the GSM specification that gets displayed directly on the phone’s screen and doesn’t automatically get stored on the device. After reading such a message, users have the option to save it or dismiss it.
On Google Nexus phones, when such a message is received, it gets displayed on top of all active windows and is surrounded by a semi-transparent black overlay that has a dimming effect on the rest of the screen. If the message is not saved or dismissed and a second message is received it gets placed on top of the first one and the dimming effect increases.
When such messages are received, there is no audio notification, even if one is configured for regular incoming SMS messages. This means that users receiving Flash messages won’t know about them until they look at the phone.
Alecu found that when a large number of Flash messages — around 30 — are received and are not dismissed, the Nexus devices act in unusual ways.
The most common behavior is that the phone reboots, he said. In this case, if a PIN is required to unlock the SIM card, the phone will not connect to the network after the reboot and the user might not notice the problem for hours, until they look at the phone. During this time the phone won’t be able to receive calls, messages or other types of notifications that require a mobile network connection.
According to Alecu, a different behavior that happens on rare occasions is that the phone doesn’t reboot, but temporarily loses connection to the mobile network. The connection is automatically restored and the phone can receive and make calls, but can no longer access the Internet over the mobile network. The only method to restore the data connection is to restart the phone, Alecu said.
On other rare occasions, only the messaging app crashes, but the system automatically restarts it, so there is no long term impact.
A live test at the conference performed on a Nexus 4 phone with the screen unlocked and running Android 4.3 did not immediately result in a reboot. However, after receiving around 30 class 0 messages the phone became unresponsive: Screen taps or attempts to lock the screen had no effect. While in this state, the phone could not receive calls and had to be rebooted manually.
A second attempt with the screen locked also failed to reboot the phone because only two of over 20 messages were immediately received. This may have been caused by a network issue or operator-imposed rate limiting. The messages did arrive later and the phone rebooted when unlocking the screen.
Alecu said that he discovered this denial-of-service issue over a year ago and has since tested and confirmed it on Google Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 phones running various Android 4.x versions, including the newly released Android 4.4, or KitKat.
Around 20 different devices from various vendors have also been tested and are not vulnerable to this problem, he said.
A recent upgrade to its developer tools has reduced the amount of work required to get an Android app working on the BlackBerry 10 operating system, and changes coming in early 2014 will allow some Android apps to run directly without any changes.
BlackBerry 10 is based on a real-time operating system called QNX but has had a level of compatibility with Android since it was launched earlier this year. A “runtime” on the phones provides an environment in which Android apps can run, but not all Android features are supported.
The latest version, 10.2.1, was introduced in early November and added support for Android Jellybean 4.2.2, Bluetooth, maps through Open Street Map, sharing of content with other applications in the phone, and the spell checker.
As long as the Android features that a given app needs are supported in BlackBerry’s Android runtime, the app needs minimal repackaging to run on BlackBerry smartphones.
It’s about to get even easier.
Early next year, BlackBerry will push a software update to users that will bring the ability to directly run “.apk” Android packages on phones, with no repackaging, as long as features required by the apps are supported. That should make it easier for companies to offer Android applications to BlackBerry users.
On Dec. 4, the company will run a series of webcasts specifically aimed at Android developers. The “BlackBerry Jam Direct Android Virtual Conference” will include speeches from BlackBerry engineers and third-party software developers.
“This event is designed to help you understand how theA BlackBerry Runtime for Android A apps 10.2.1 release supports your development efforts and helps you get your apps in front of BlackBerry users faster,” the company says on a website.
BlackBerry has attracted 130,000 apps to its BlackBerry 10 platform, but the company’s new phones haven’t managed to grab the attention of many users.
BlackBerry had a 2.8% share of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2013, according to data from IDC. That puts it behind Windows Mobile at 3.1%, Apple’s iOS at 16.6% and Android at 69.2%.
The phone is a variant, though not an outright successor, of the Lumia 520, and helps Nokia offer Windows Phone at a more accessible price to a larger number of users, a spokeswoman said via email.
The smartphone will go on sale before the end of the year in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Singapore and Russia. In China, it is priced at 1099 yuan ($180) before taxes and subsidies. It will then go on sale in Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Khazakstan and parts of Africa during the first quarter of next year, according to Nokia.
During the third quarter, Lumia sales increased by 19 percent quarter-on-quarter to 8.8 million units, reflecting strong demand particularly for the Lumia 520, Nokia said. The Lumia 525 and the expanded distribution it brings, then, is important to Nokia.
Other than 1GB of RAM, rather than 512MB, the specs of the Lumia 525 are identical to what users get with the Lumia 520. That includes a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels, a 5-pixel camera and dual-core 1GHz processor. There is also 8GB of integrated memory and a microSD card slot.
The market for sub-$200 smartphones is at a crossroads, mostly thanks to Google’s efforts. The recently announced Moto G from Google-owned Motorola Mobility costs as much as the Lumia 525, but is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and has a 4.5-inch 720p screen.
Even though the Lumia 520 has helped increase the popularity of Windows Phone, Nokia and Microsoft can’t afford to rest. Their main priority should now be to bring down the cost of Windows Phones to below $100 without a contract, said Pete Cunningham, principal analyst at Canalys.
Nokia shareholders last week voted to approve Microsoft’s acquisition of “substantially all” of the company’s Devices & Services business. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of next year.
The C720P Touchscreen Chromebook has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, which displays images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The lightweight laptop offers roughly seven-and-a-half hours of battery life and runs on an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on the Haswell microarchitecture.
Chromebooks are laptops for those who do most of their computing on the Web. Chrome OS is mostly adapted for keyboards, but the touchscreen could ease selection of options in menus and improve interaction in browsers and other applications.
A new wave of Chromebooks running the latest version of Chrome OS started shipping in October.
The laptop will be available in early December through Amazon.com, Best Buy and Acer’s online store. The laptop will be available in the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, U.K., France, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Finland.
Other Chromebooks include Acer Chromebook C720-2848, which has an Intel processor and is priced at $199.99, and Hewlett-Packard and Google’s Chromebook 11, which has an ARM processor and is priced at $279. HP’s Chromebook 14 has a 14-inch screen, an Intel processor and is priced at $299 in Office Depot.
The C720P weighs 1.35 kilograms and boots in seven seconds. Other features include 32GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 ports, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and an HDMI slot. Users will get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years with the laptop.
It is not known for which applications Apple aims to use the PrimeSense technology or the price it has paid for the Tel Aviv, Israel, company. Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet emailed the company’s standard statement after an acquisition.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she wrote.
PrimeSense technology was used to power the Kinect motion sensing input device in the original Xbox from Microsoft.
The Calcalist newspaper in Israel reported on the deal about a week ago, and said Apple would pay $345 million for the company.
PrimeSense said earlier this month that its sensor was used by 3-D printing company 3D Systems for its new 3-D scanner called Sense.
The company’s sensors have applications in other areas, ranging from retail to healthcare, which suggest that Apple has a number of alternatives for deployment of the technology in its own devices. Its Capri sensor is a small-size device designed specifically for integration with mobile phones, TVs, tablets and PCs.
PrimeSense was founded in 2005 and has operated as a fabless semiconductor company. Its technology already powers over 24 million devices around the world, enabling natural interaction between people and devices and between devices and their surroundings, the company said on its website.
If a five-day test phase has been any indication, demand in the state of nearly 9 million people could be high. The total number of players logging on hit 10,000 during the first three days of 24-hour testing, regulators said.
New Jersey is the third U.S. state, but by far the most populous, to roll out online gaming. Officials hope the effort can rescue Atlantic City’s sagging casino revenues.
During testing, regulators found “no significant, widespread regulatory problems or technical barriers for going live,” said David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, in a call with reporters.
Casinos were limited to 500 players on each site at one time during testing, and they were not allowed to advertise widely. As of midnight the restrictions will be lifted for those who won regulatory approval.
“You have to be gradual. You have to be cautious. You have to be measured,” Rebuck said, noting that casinos didn’t want to invite large numbers of players until they knew the systems could handle the traffic.
“You’re going to see accelerating efforts by them to be much more aggressive” about marketing, he said.
The casinos use geolocation services to figure out whether someone from outside the state is trying to hack in online. Such technology has been used already in Delaware and Nevada, the other two states to offer some form of online wagering, but Rebuck said regulators in New Jersey demanded “a higher standard of operations.”
Regulators and casinos sent testers out of state and asked them to try to crack into the New Jersey websites, but nobody broke through, he said.
“I’m not saying this is foolproof by any means,” he said. “Somebody at some time will find a way to get around this, and we have to be extra vigilant.”
The first test patron logged on to a site operated by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa from somewhere in New Brunswick on Thursday evening. Many hits came later from areas within New Jersey that are near New York City and Philadelphia, he said.
Borgata, owned by Boyd Gaming Corp and MGM Resorts, is one of the six casino operators whose sites went live as of midnight Monday.
AMD has announced that its proprietary Mantle graphics API is attracting more interest as some big names sign up. Rebellion Entertainment has entered the game with its Asura engine and officially adopted Mantle for their upcoming Sniper Elite V3.
It looks like the first title that will be supported by Mantle will be Sniper Elite 3. So far no one is saying what advantage there will be for Asura to run on Mantle, it seems likely that it will give boosts in performance as well as enhanced graphics quality. Chris Kingsley chief technology officer and co-founder of Rebellion Entertainment said in a press release that his studio was pushing technology as far as it could.
“We are excited about the possibilities that Mantle brings to PC gaming and the industry as a whole. We believe that supporting Mantle will enable us to stay on the bleeding edge of PC gaming and ensure that we don’t leave any performance on the table when it comes to offering gamers amazing experiences,” he said.
Mantle, a cross-platform application programming interface for windows designed specifically for graphics processing units based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimisation. Mantle is supposed to bypass bottlenecks in modern PC/API architectures and enables nine times more draw calls per second than DirectX and OpenGL thanks to lower CPU overhead, AMD claims.
The Galaxy Grand 2 has a number of hardware improvements over the first Grand, which was announced last December. The Grand 2′s processor has four cores, twice as many as its predecessor’s, but runs at the same speed, 1.2GHz. Its screen measures 5.25 inches across the diagonal and can display HD video with a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels, an improvement on its predecessor’s 5-inch, 800-by-400-pixel screen.
To power those performance improvements, Samsung has increased the battery capacity from 2,100 mAh to 2,600 mAh. The bigger battery and screen has had little effect on the size and weight of the Grand 2 compared to its predecessor. It is one gram heavier and a couple of millimeters longer and wider. The thickness is virtually the same at 8.9 millimeters versus 9.5 millimeters, according to Samsung’s spec sheets.
The Grand 2 has the same resolution and basic processor configuration as the recently announced Moto G from Google-owned Motorola Mobility, which set a new performance benchmark for devices costing around $180 without a contract.
Like its predecessor, the Grand 2 has an 8-megapixel camera, while the Moto G only has a 5-megapixel camera. Neither device supports LTE. For storage, Samsung has stuck with 8GB of integrated storage and a microSD card slot, while the Motorola device is available with 8GB or 16GB of built-in storage, but no card slot.
Both devices run Android 4.3, but while Motorola has said it will upgrade the Moto G to version 4.4 in January, Samsung is mum on its upgrade plans. Samsung also isn’t saying what the Grand 2 will cost, so for now its hard to say which is the better value.